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APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
24.1 Apologies were received from Councillors Caston, Jamieson, Pearson, Piper, Row, and Scarff.
24.2 Councillor Carruthers substituted for Councillor Jamieson.
24.3 Councillor Warboys substituted for Councillor Pearson.
24.4 Councillor Matthissen substituted for Councillor Row.
24.5 Councillor Marriott substituted for Councillor Scarff.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
25.1 None declared.
26.1 Councillor Grandon proposed that the minutes of the meeting on 21 August 2023 be confirmed and signed as a true record.
26.2 Councillor Whyman seconded the proposal.
By a vote of 5 For and 5 Abstentions
It was RESOLVED:
That the minutes of the meeting from 21 August 2023 be confirmed and signed as a true record.
TO RECEIVE NOTIFICATION OF PETITIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COUNCIL'S PETITION SCHEME
27.1 None received.
QUESTIONS BY THE PUBLIC
To consider questions from and provide answers to members of the public on any matter in relation to which the Committee has powers or duties and of which due notice has been given in accordance with the Committee and Sub-Committee Procedures Rules.
28.1 None received.
QUESTIONS BY COUNCILLORS
To consider questions from and provide answers to Councillors on any matter in relation to which the Committee has powers or duties and of which due notice has been given in accordance with the Committee and Sub-Committee Procedure Rules.
29.1 None received.
30.1 The Director of Operations introduced the item to the Committee outlining before Members the approved motion from both Councils in November 2022, stakeholder responsibilities, and the background information provided by internal officers in the information bulletin.
30.2 Anglian Water provided a presentation to the Committee outlining before Members the operational background of the organisation, the current strategic goals, the five “Get River Positive” commitments, investment into the reduction of storm spills, water recycling programmes, storm overflows and their designated permits, and event duration monitors (EDMs) installation and maintenance.
30.3 Representatives from the Environment Agency, Natural England, and the River Stour Trust introduced themselves to the committee and outlined before Members their organisation’s purpose in managing rivers in the Districts.
30.4 Councillor Matthissen questioned the reasons for the frequency of storm spills given, on average, the districts receive very little rainfall. Anglian Water responded that external factors, such as fats in the sewage system and blockages, were affecting activations of storm spills and that a third of these activations were false events.
30.5 Councillor Warboys queried if Anglian Water were able to provide planning officers with more detailed information regarding costs and capacity in their consultee responses. Anglian Water responded that they were not statutory consultees in the planning process and that there were legislative restrictions to the information that they could provide.
30.6 Councillor Marriott queried if there was a strategy for removing excessive plant growth from rivers. The Environment Agency responded that greenery in the rivers would be cut back if there was a direct benefit to domestic properties and businesses but that there were mitigations in place, specifically regarding flow rates and nutrient levels, that would reduce plant growth.
30.7 Councillor Marriott requested if Councillors could receive more educational training on catchment sensitive farming to work collaboratively with farmers in their wards to protect water quality. Natural England responded that was a session they would be keen to support and deliver.
30.8 Councillor Grandon questioned what could be done to improve the levels of biodiversity and wildlife in the rivers in Hadleigh. Anglian Water responded that there was a phosphorous scheme being delivered at the Hadleigh Water Recycling Centre which would reduce the levels of phosphates in the system, therefore reducing plant growth and encouraging wildlife to return. The Environment Agency responded that, if needed, an aerator could be added to the water supply to increase oxygen levels and improve the habitat for wildlife.
30.9 Councillor Riley questioned how soon improvements could be made to water quality in the rivers to raise their status from “poor” to “good”. The Environment Agency responded that there were regulations to make improvements with a deadline of 2027 and that it was possible only one measurable aspect of the river was resulting in its “poor” status rather than the whole river being below standard quality.
30.10 Councillor Carter questioned whether the presence of external influences in our rivers were resulting in storm spill events during periods of wet weather not being ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
JOS/23/16 FORTHCOMING DECISIONS LIST
To review the Council’s Forthcoming Decisions List and identify any items to be brought before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Please note the most up to date version can be found via the Website:
31.1 The Forthcoming Decision List was noted.
32.1 The Overview and Scrutiny Action Tracker was noted.
To agree the Babergh Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan
33.1 Councillor Riley questioned when the proposed items from the August committee - an update on Corks Lane and an item concerning staffing, agile working, and productivity – would be timetabled on the work plan.
33.2 The Lead Officer for Overview and Scrutiny responded that initial conversations regarding these items had been held with the Chairs and that the items would be timetabled after further conversations about how these items would be brought to committee had been held.
33.3 The Babergh Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan was noted.
To agree the Mid Suffolk Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan
34.1 The Mid Suffolk Overview and Scrutiny Committee was noted.